Alabaster votes to purchase public works equipment

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council voted unanimously during its Feb. 4 meeting to purchase several pieces of equipment from the state’s bid list for the city’s public works department.

During the meeting, the council voted to purchase a half-ton four-wheel-drive pickup truck, a three-quarter-ton two-wheel-drive pickup, a one-ton dump truck and a tractor to help replace worn-out equipment the department currently is using, said Ward 2 Councilman Bob Hicks.

“Some of this equipment is extremely overdue,” Hicks said. “(Public Works Superintendent Mark Harris) has made very good use of his equipment.”

The city will purchase the equipment using a portion of the $1.3 million the council voted to borrow in early January. The city also is planning to bid out and purchase several other pieces of public works equipment using a portion of the $1.3 million, including a tandem dump, a skid steer, a backhoe and a grapple truck.

Alabaster City Administrator Henry said the public works equipment being replaced by the new purchases is 10-20 years old, and said he commended the city employees for “Macguyvering” to keep the old equipment running. The useful life of the new equipment will be between 10-20 years depending on the type of equipment, Henry said.

After purchasing the new equipment, Henry said the city will create a “rolling asset plan and be purposeful about following it to avoid these types of purchases all bundled together.”

A portion of the $1.3 million also will be used to purchase a new Alabaster Fire Department pump truck to replace a 1996 truck currently used as the Station 1 primary response truck.

“This truck has cost us much in maintenance, and is expensive to operate for those types of calls,” Henry said of the 1996 truck.

When the new fire truck is purchased, the 1996 truck will be placed into reserve and an older reserve truck likely will be retired, Henry said, noting the city is planning to pay back the $1.3 million loan over the next five years.